Chapter 3 Dominican Friaries in the Medieval Landscapes of Britain and Ireland: A Comparative Study

In: A Companion to the English Dominican Province  
Author:
Anne-Julie Lafaye
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Abstract

Mendicant studies in Ireland have been marked by a tendency to see Ireland as having followed in the footsteps of Britain, including architectural matters. In 1224 the Dominican friars who first arrived to Ireland came from England, where they had arrived three years earlier. The arrival and progress of the mendicant orders in Ireland took place in the context of its political and economic colonisation by the Anglo-Normans, with many mendicant communities established under their patronage and that of the English king.

This chapter represents the first comprehensive and comparative study of the corpus of standing and excavated remains of mendicant friaries in Britain and Ireland, their position in the landscape, and the physical impact of the friars’ buildings and precincts on their environment. In doing so, it identifies processes of inspiration and influence, and the transferral of skills and architectural forms at play between the two islands. This chapter questions the historical tradition which, when it comes to the foundation and construction of mendicant friaries, typically views England as the centre and Ireland as a periphery influenced by that centre, and demonstrates that in reality the situation was in fact much more complex and nuanced.

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